I need help refurbishing a vintage road bike?
The bike is a '75 or '76 Raleigh Grand Prix. It has Simplex derailers that could use some work. The frame is in decent shape. Really the whole bike just needs to be overhauled. How to fix it up without spending too much cash?
If you use the $7 hanger, then you have the option of using a mega-range 13-34 6 speed freewheel; however models with the built in hanger would go "bumpity" on that 34t cog.
This mega range option works well and it is a sure cure for lack of a "road triple" crankset.
You also get wonderful shifting and brand new gears. ;)
You'll also need a hyperglide chain, such as the very inexpensive, yet very fine HG50.
You'll need to clean and grease the headset and bottom bracket. Likewise, you'll need to grease the hubs.
If your chainrings are not worn out, then the old crankset will work just fine. However, for a modern road crankset, Shimano FC2200 or FC2300 is about $55, and the square taper crankset is most likely to fit. See bikepartsusa.com Cheaper options are on E-bay.
For bottom bracket efficiency, Shimano UN25, about $10, is a nice slick sealed cartridge model that can replace the kludge that came with the Raleigh. Remember, attempting to tighten the drive side actually loosens. In the case of "one piece cranks" Harris Cyclery and others have adaptor bushings that work great.
Niagara Cycle at Amazon.com has a set of Pyramid "low fat" low profile beartrap/toestrap pedals for $10.99 or so. Previously a road bike technology, this is now marketed for mountain bikes. These pedals are wonderful, providing the advantages of shoe attachment, origional restored looks, and relatively light weight. Yes, I've tried them, and they are a better-performing copy of what used to be standard on road bikes.
Harris Cyclery, on line at harriscyclery.com has ever so much information on restoring your old Raleigh.
Basically, it is to grease to replace moving parts, upgrade derailleurs with today's very effective low priced Shimano comfort series, put a stop to bottom bracket flex and use new enough gears that the chain doesn't skip forwards.
This will enhance efficiency of the Raleigh up towards the range of a $700 road bike.
Since it will likely end up a very nice bike, there's some things to consider along the way.
More expensive, yet won't leave you wishing you had made it lighter weight.
Deore SGS Top Normal rear derailleur--or LX.
Crankset with aluminum chainrings for higher efficiency, and if the rear gears are mountain, an inexpensive used "road double" square taper crankset will do fine.
Shimano's lightweight UN73 bottom bracket.
The last options on its eventual path towards equalling the performance of a $1300 road bike:
Sending the old rear hub off to Harris cyclery to be overhauled and have a performance rim installed, and a matching front wheel (new hub fits the front of the bike but not the back, and re-spacing the frame is risky, so just use the old hub with some new grease and bearings).
Alloy brakes and brake levers--if the bike is not already equipped with these.
Alloy handlebars from Nitto of Japan--if the bike is not already equipped with alloy handlebars.
Bar end shifters.
Lightweight seat posts are extremely inexpensive, especially the Pyramid model that resembles what came on the better Raleighs--just cut a few inches off the bottom so that it matches your old seatpost in length.
Of course, the last set of options, concentrating on light weight would only enhance performance if you live or tour in the hills. Otherwise, light weight will not be of paramount importance.
For the old metalworks that used to be brilliant one can buff them with polishing compound and a motorized buffer and then spray paint them with clear lacqer. If that's too much trouble, automotive aluminum wheel polish, like Blue Magic (especially that) can keep your metalworks shiny for one year at a time, even in the weather.
One can't clear coat over Blue Magic, so the polishing compound method is far less work in the long run.
Given a good cleaning with Simple Green (dark green) and then glass cleaner, one can "ambush" the bike with the clear laquer to preserve it for all-weather use.
Finally, I'd like to mention Kool Stop Brake pads and Michelin tires as there's nothing quite like either one. Less effort to stop fast, less effort to go fast, and those make it easy.
Again, many well-informed reasonable people there.
A lot of the work you can do yourself. Overhauling the bearings in the headset, bottom bracket, wheels is not too difficult to do. You will need to pick up a few tools and bike-type grease (auto sheel-bearing grease is awful thick to use with bicycles). I would go with all-new cables (brakes and deraillers) which is really pretty inexpensive. A new chain wouldn't heart, as the newer busihngless chains work much nicer than the older ones. A lot of the shiny bits (handlebars, wheels, etc can be polished up easily with some Quick-Glo - great stuff. Also a repair stand would be a great benefit. Careful to not crush the tubes.
A bicycle repair manual would be a big help. Barnett's is the best but expensive. Bicycling magazine has a good book out, and "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" is very good, although Zinn and Bicycling's books are geared toward modern stuff. Check your library, they may have an older book.
Bicycles are really pretty simple machines but a little finicky. Take the time to do it right and you'll have little trouble and a great bike.
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